Republicans Should Listen to John Danforth

In a March 30 Op-Ed piece in the New York Times (also in St. Louis Post-Dispatch.nsf/editorialcommentary/story/26C4306CF413118F86256FD50037BC49?OpenDocument), John Danforth (Episcopal minister, former US ambassador to the United Nations, and a former Republican senator from Missouri), voices his concerns about the Republican Party and its transformation into, as he writes, “the political arm of conservative Christians.”

Danforth is a man for whom I have the utmost respect, and his commentary points out the changes in the GOP which make it unattractive to independents such as myself. At one time, the Republican focus on a strong defense and free trade led me to regularly vote for Republican candidates for office. It has been years, however, since I voted for a Republican. Why? Danforth summarizes it well:

“But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit; I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today, it seems to be the other way around.”

Where are the moderate Republicans? If only there was a real candidate like Arnold Vinick, Alan Alda’s character on The West Wing.